The Top 5 British Touring Car Drivers of 2020
Thirty five drivers competed in the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship with only one driver able to lift the crown. Here at Pitlane to Podium, I've compiled my own list of the top five drivers who performed well and exceeded expectations over the course of the season.
5) Adam Morgan
Team: Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools
Car: Mercedes A-Class
Championship Position: 8th
Having driven the Mercedes A-Class since 2014, Adam Morgan's performances and results haven't dipped as the car becomes outdated and in 2020, Morgan showed just how strong a driver he is.
He was consistent throughout the season only racking up three retirements which meant that out of the 27 races, he finished in the points 24 times. Although his performances have slightly gone under the radar.
Morgan started his 250th start in the BTCC and went onto win that race at Oulton Park ending a two-year win drought. The victory was made even sweeter as it was on home soil.
Two more podiums followed in Silverstone and at Snetterton and a strong weekend at the finale at Brands Hatch allowed Morgan to finish in 8th in the Championship. All eyes will be on this season as Ciceley scrap the Mercedes for two BMW 330i M Sports.
In an exclusive interview with Pitlane to Podium, former BTCC winner turned pundit, Paul O'Neil, shared his thoughts about Morgan's season.
"Adam Morgan was brilliant this year. That car really old, and when you get an old MGTCC spec car, they are not usually that brilliant and I know the Honda FK2 was a bit of a different matter but that’s a different bit of machinery that is but to be fair but Morgan and Ciceley did some brilliant things this year with that car."
4) Jake Hill
Team: MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square
Car: Honda Civic (FK2)
Championship Position: 7th
After four retirements in the first six races of the year, Jake Hill bounced back to claim an impressive seventh in the championship along with a couple of stand-out podium finishes.
Hill was defeated by engine issues which robbed him a shot of any silverware this season but when the issues were fixed for the third race meeting of 2020 at Oulton Park, he started to string together strong results.
If it hadn't of been for them issues at the start of the season, Hill would have had a very good chance of securing at least one podium finish per event where by apart from the first two rounds, he failed to stand on the podium at only Thruxton.
His pace on Saturday's were very impressive with the MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square driver one of only three drivers to qualify in the top ten at every event with an average grid slot of 5th/6th.
A strong seventh in the championship with six podiums, a highest of second at Croft, means that heading into this year, he'll be one to watch.
O'Neil shared his thoughts about the English driver and tips him for being a title contender this year.
"Amazing wasn’t it. I thought he was amazing but such a disappointment for him and MB Motorsport to have them dramas at the beginning of the year but they got through it and truth to be told, I think there’s a bit more to it. I think he was driving round with not a lot of power in some races because I think they were trying to manage that engine so I think that is something that I’ve picked up on so I think his job was extra special this year."
3) Dan Cammish
Team: Halfords Yuasa Racing
Car: Honda Civic Type R (FK8)
Championship Position: 3rd
After a heart-breaking finale in 2019 when Cammish narrowly lost out to Colin Turkington, he fought back brilliantly and was a title contender right until the final round.
Cammish opened the 2020 season by winning the season-opener at Donnington Park followed by winning at Brands Hatch GP - brushing off his demons. However, mechanical problems prevented him of taking more silverware and points that weekend.
Consistency is key for any driver in any championship and finishing in 25 of the 27 races meant that Cammish was always in contention for the title, albeit just within striking distance of the top two.
Cammish established himself as leader of Team Dynamic with Three Time BTCC Champion Matt Neal struggling and out of the five FK8's that were on the grid last year, Cammish was the highest placed driver.
Another win and a podium in the finale at the Indy layout of Brands Hatch left Cammish just two points shy of Turkington and 16 behind Ash Sutton.
He is expected to stay with Honda and Team Dynamics and will launch another attack to try and win the title this year.
2) Colin Turkington
Team: Team BMW
Car: BMW 330i
Championship Position: 2nd
With four titles under his belt, if Colin could have won last year, he would have become the most successful driver in the history of the BTCC. He was hot favourite heading into 2020 and despite whatever was thrown his way, the BMW driver was always going to be in contention no matter what with the Northern Irishman coming into the finale with a lead of nine points.
Turkington is renowned for being consistent and in a season where there were three less races than usual, he scored very well and at one stage looked unstoppable. In the first twelve races, he finished on the podium eight times taking two wins and four second places.
A non-finish at Thruxton and a two non-finishes at Croft in the second and third races, really put pay to his championship and allowed the likes of Sutton and Cammish to close the gap. He fought back at Snetterton, a track he loves, taking two wins a third to go into Brands Hatch GP as leader.
However, on the day, when the wet conditions played into the hands of Sutton and Laser Tools, Turkington was defenceless to defending his crown.
The BMW 330i M Sport wasn't the class of the field last year and struggled to get the right set-up at most circuits but at tracks where they found the sweet spot, Turkington was unbeatable at Snetterton and Brands Hatch Indy.
O'Neil, who's competed against Turkington in the past, commented on the turning point in the championship between Colin and Ash.
"I was going to say Colin’s horrendous Croft was a turning point, you know, I really think it was. But I think it was the weather. I think if it was a dry Brands Hatch, you would have had a fight you wouldn’t have known who to pick but as soon as there was enough water on the track to make it difficult, I just think that Ash was always going to come through with that car set-up and how he drives but I think it was probably that weekend at Brands."
1) Ash Sutton
Team: Laser Tools Racing
Car: Infiniti Q50
Championship Position: 1st
Moving to Laser Tools Racing has certainly paid off for Ash as he tried to shake-off a difficult 2019 season. After driving the Subaru Levorg GT, the Infiniti Q50, made by Nissan's luxury brand, was engineered to perfection.
2020 saw the absolute best from the 2017 Champion as he took the fight to Cammish and Turkington. His qualifying struggles put him on the back foot heading into the races on Sunday and made life more difficult for himself but his comeback drives were nearly first-class.
Sutton had to adapt his driving this year from being brash and eager to being more reserved. His eagerness at an overtake on Hill in the second race at Croft meant that Ash suffered his second non-points finish but this third race comeback, from the last row of the grid to fifth, was exemplary.
It were these fightbacks that were determined, thoughtful and perfectly executed as well as his skill of driving in damp and tricky conditions which was shown at Brands Hatch Indy. Nine points adrift of Turkington quickly became a lead he would not relinquish.
Ash will stay with Laser Tools Racing for this season and if he can sort out his qualifying struggles, he'll be the favourite to retain his crown.
O'Neil shared this thoughts about the newly crowned Double Champion.
"Ash just is just the best driver on the grid I think in my opinion and he’s got some good people to judge himself on like Colin and Dan. I just thought that he was amazing, he was when it counted, he got the team round him, BMR Engineering helping with the set-up but Laser Tools Racing is quite a small set-up really who have not been in it that long, they did amazing, he did amazing. He was the stand-out driver for me."